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A This Is Us Writer Unpacks the Major Decision Rebecca Made on Thanksgiving

Rebecca had major news to share on Season 6's holiday episode.

By Christopher Rosa
This Is Us Thanksgiving Episode15

The This Is Us Season 6 Thanksgiving episode was intense, to say the least. In the brief hour, fans started to see the cracks forming in Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby's (Chris Sullivan) marriage, plus there was a hint all may not be well with Deja (Lyric Ross) and Malik (Asante Blackk). 

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But the central figure of the episode was Rebecca (Mandy Moore), whose Alzheimer's is only intensifying. Shortly after the family gathered at the cabin for Thanksgiving, Rebecca told Kate, Randall (Sterling K. Brown), and Kevin (Justin Hartley) she and Miguel (Jon Huertas) needed to speak with them about something important. They waited until after dinner and gathered around the dining room table for the chat. 

And it was a doozy. Rebecca revealed to the Big Three she essentially had figured out her plan for the end of her life—after her memory fades and when she'll need constant care. She's appointed Miguel to make decisions on her behalf, and in the event Miguel passes away, she wants Kate to be the point person. 

At the end of the episode, Kate asked Rebecca why she picked her. "You are my daughter and my best friend," Rebecca told Kate. "It was always you." 

But what does this mean, exactly? The writer of the episode, Laura Kenar, gave some insight to NBC Insider. "Rebecca has a very beautiful, special, important relationship with all three of her children, but I think the thing with Kate has been such a rollercoaster," she tells us. "Only a few episodes ago, Rebecca slapped Kate. There’s been so many ups and downs with them, and I think, yeah, they just have this really special, intangible mother-daughter bond." 

There's another layer to Rebecca's decision, as well. Viewers surely remember the blowout fight that transpired between Randall and Kevin over whether or not Rebecca should participate in a nine-month Alzheimer's clinical trial. Only recently have they reconnected and put that ugly situation⁠—and the ugly things they said⁠ to each other—in the past. Rebecca picking Kate was also rooted in making sure the Big Three doesn't implode the next time a tough decision needs to be made. 

"In Season 4, Randall and Kevin got into such a huge fight over pretty much one of the first decisions they had to make for Rebecca's care," Kenar says. "It sent the brothers off, and they didn’t speak to each other for a good almost-year. I think Rebecca realizes that, and having Kate as the person who decides will maybe alleviate any of the drama that would happen between the brothers."  

So, how will all of this impact the final stretch of episodes, which will take us to the very end of Rebecca's life? You'll have to tune in to find out.

This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, and you can catch up on NBC.com.